How to Water Start on a Windsurf

Table of Contents

Windsurfing is a thrilling water sport that combines the elegance of sailing with the excitement of wave riding. In order to become a proficient windsurfer, it is crucial to learn the water start technique. This essential skill allows you to recover and get back on your board after a fall or when stationary in the water. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with a detailed step-by-step process to perform a water start in windsurfing, along with answers to six key questions, enabling you to enhance your technique and confidence on the water.


What is a water start in windsurfing?

A water start is a technique used in windsurfing to regain momentum and resume windsurfing after a fall or when you find yourself stationary in the water. It involves utilizing the power of the wind to lift the rig and propel yourself back onto the board.


What equipment do you need for a water start?

To perform a water start in windsurfing, it is important to have the right equipment:

  • Windsurfing board: Choose a board that matches your skill level, providing stability and control.
  • Windsurfing rig: This includes the mast, sail, boom, and mast base. Opt for a sail size suitable for the wind conditions and your body weight.
  • Harness: Though optional, a harness is recommended for advanced windsurfers as it reduces strain on the arms and allows for better control.


How to position yourself for a water start?

Proper positioning is crucial for a successful water start. Follow these steps: a. Swim or paddle back to your board, ensuring you are upwind of it. b. Position yourself in the water with your back facing the wind. c. Hold the mast with one hand near the mast base and the other hand gripping the boom. Ensure your body is parallel to the board.


How to lift the rig and get onto the board?

Lifting the rig and getting back on the board requires the correct technique. Here’s a step-by-step process: a. As the wind fills the sail, use your body weight to assist in lifting the rig out of the water. Keep your arms extended but relaxed. b. Maintain a low stance with your knees bent and shift your body weight over the board. c. Place one foot on the board while keeping the other leg extended in the water for balance. d. Slowly pull yourself up using the mast and boom, sliding your extended leg onto the board. e. Find your balance and position your feet in the footstraps, adjusting your body position as necessary.


How to maintain balance and control during the water start?

Maintaining balance and control during a water start is crucial to prevent falling back into the water. Here are some tips to help you: a. Keep your body weight centered over the board and slightly forward. This will help you maintain stability and control. b. Hold the boom with both hands, keeping your arms slightly bent. Avoid gripping the boom too tightly, allowing for subtle adjustments. c. Use small adjustments of the sail angle to control your speed and balance. Tilting the sail forward can help you gain more power and lift. d. Keep your eyes focused on the horizon to maintain stability and prevent disorientation.


What are some common mistakes to avoid?

Even experienced windsurfers can make mistakes during a water start. Here are some common errors to avoid: a. Rushing the process: Take your time and ensure that the rig is properly lifted before attempting to get on the board. This will prevent you from losing balance. b. Leaning back: Maintain a forward-leaning stance to prevent falling backward. This will help you maintain control and prevent the sail from overpowering you. c. Gripping the boom too tightly: Relax your grip on the boom to allow for subtle adjustments and reduce strain on your arms. This will enable you to maintain better control of the sail. d. Ignoring wind direction: Always be aware of the wind direction and position yourself correctly for a successful water start. Ignoring wind direction may result in failed attempts or drifting away from your desired direction.



Mastering the water start technique in windsurfing is essential for every windsurfer. By following the step-by-step guide provided above and avoiding common mistakes, you will be able to improve your technique and gain confidence on the water. Remember to practice in safe conditions and gradually increase your skills, always challenging yourself to explore new possibilities. With patience, determination, and the right guidance, you will become a proficient windsurfer capable of executing smooth and successful water starts. So, get out on the water and enjoy the thrill of windsurfing!

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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